|Publication number||US6997461 B2|
|Application number||US 10/196,405|
|Publication date||Feb 14, 2006|
|Filing date||Jul 16, 2002|
|Priority date||Jul 17, 2001|
|Also published as||DE10232443A1, DE10232443B4, US20030015843|
|Publication number||10196405, 196405, US 6997461 B2, US 6997461B2, US-B2-6997461, US6997461 B2, US6997461B2|
|Inventors||Timothy Troy Smith, Larry J. Castleman|
|Original Assignee||Trelleborg Sealing Solutions U.S., Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (20), Referenced by (12), Classifications (11), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit under Title 35, United States Code §119(e) of any U.S. application No. 60/306,113 filed on Jul. 17, 2001.
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates generally to radial lip seals, and more particularly, to radial lip seals which can accommodate shaft deflection in an environment in which the shaft rotates at high speed, and under high torque conditions and in which the fluid being sealed attains high pressures.
2. Description of the Related Art
Lip seals are usually molded of a resilient elastomeric or polymeric material. They are secured in fluid tight relation to a housing and surround a rotating shaft which extends through an aperture in the housing wall. The sealing lip is in sealing relationship to the shaft to contain the fluid in the housing.
Lip seal's components or elements include a rigid case or retainer to add rigidity and to unitize the seal assembly. The case also aids in the installation, withdrawal and retention of the seal relative to the housing. The resilient body includes a secondary seal to seal against the housing and one or more resilient sealing lips which are maintained in sealing contact with the shaft.
Lip seals experience a wide variety of uses in which operating temperature and pressure conditions, expected shaft speeds, and the make-up of the medium to be contained dictate the requirements of a particular construction. Typically, however, the rigid component or retainer is formed of hard plastic, such as phenolic, steel or stainless steel and the resilient lips are defined by elastomeric or polymeric members such as molded rubber, polytetrafluoroethylene or other known materials. The resilient element may be molded as a single body or may comprise a plurality of separate elements connected together in fluid tight relation.
The nature of lip seal applications expose the seal to conditions of significant shaft movement relative to the surrounding housing. Shaft deflection relative to either the housing or the bore results in a wobble of the shaft during rotation of the shaft, also referred to as shaft run-out. A significant degree of shaft run-out often challenges the effectiveness of the lip seal.
Specific applications for lip seals may include automotive, appliance and industrial applications. Certain applications subject lip seals to extreme service conditions such as in air conditioning compressors, where the shaft is typically driven by a belt and pulley through an electric clutch, and in oil pumps which generally pressurize oil to high pressures, to thereby permit effective circulation of the oil through the engine and oil filter. Compressor and oil pump design typically results in shaft wobble, bending distortion and misalignment of the shaft axis relative to the housing aperture. Ideally, the lip seal assembly takes into account the established tolerances of the devices in which the lip seal is used in order to minimize the associated manufacturing costs.
Efforts to provide a lip seal to accommodate shaft run-out or misalignment include use of extended conical shapes, multiple lips and other variations and alterations of the resilient element. An effective arrangement is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,503,408, issued Apr. 2, 1996, and commonly assigned with this invention to John Crane Inc., Morton Grove, Ill. The seal disclosed and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,503,408 embodies multiple resilient lips which provide for an auxiliary or alignment lip interposed between the shaft and the sealing lip for centering the lip seal. Under conditions of misalignment, the auxiliary lip contacts the underside of the primary sealing lip and causes a displacement of that lip in the direction of displacement of the shaft relative to the center of its associated housing bore. Displacement of the auxiliary lip causes the primary sealing lip to “follow” the shaft and, thereby, maintain the integrity of its sealing relation to the shaft. The lip seal described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,503,408 is used in relatively low pressure type applications. U.S. Pat. No. 5,975,538 uses an inner support member to accomplish enhanced sealing.
In the event that the fluid being sealed attains high pressures, the lip seal becomes subject to deformation from axially directed pressure forces, resulting from the high pressures acting on the radial area of the lip seal, which press the radial sealing lip against the bearing. At high pressures, the radial seal lip is further subject to folding over at the shaft, thereby resulting in a loss of sealing capacity.
To some extent, bearing members which are utilized in the efforts and examples described above maintain seal lip centering and also contain the seal lip in the desired orientation and position between the bearing and the high pressure fluid being sealed. However, bearings, by the nature of their construction and function, extend from the seal lip and provide rigid axial support to the retainer member relative to the shaft. In most instances, the outer diameter of the bearing is flush against the inner diameter of the rigid retainer member, so that any shaft deflection causes the bearing to impart that deflection to the retainer, thereby maintaining a predetermined relative orientation between the lip seal and the rotating shaft. Dampening action of a resilient mounting between the bearing and the retainer member absorbs the majority of the deflection. However, even in the resilient mounting example, the abutment of the bearing member with the resilient retainer subjects the bearing to continual repeated stress, which over extended periods of time can cause the deterioration and destruction of the bearing.
The present invention addresses the needs of the seals in some applications to accommodate a greater amount of pressure and inflexibility which results from the increased pressure sealed fluid environments. The ability of the improved lip seal according to the present invention to accommodate great pressures also allows for the elimination of expensive case pressure drain systems that are required in some high pressure applications.
The present invention is directed to a unitary lip seal assembly which includes a rigid retainer and a resilient member secured thereto with at least one generally radially directed lip for sealing engagement with an associated shaft. The retainer member defines a radial support surface for maintaining the radial sealing lip intermediate the radial support surface and the high pressure medium being sealed. The retainer member is shaped and dimensioned and has an inner diameter adapted to maintain a predetermined spatial separation between the retainer member inner diameter portion and the shaft extending portion of the support member irrespective of the operational conditions, such as amount of shaft deflection, or of the pressure of the medium being sealed.
The rigid metal container case has a sharp corner at the inside diameter facing the open end and resilient member. This sharp corner prevents the lip of the resilient member from wedging between the case and the shaft and then extruding.
The rigid container further is not totally encased by the resilient member. Therefore, the back surface of the rigid retainer is in direct thermal contact with the housing or end plate. This increases thermal conductivity between a seal and the housing and allows for dissipation of heat that builds up within the seal system.
Another portion of the invention is that the geometry of the seal lip at the flex and head area is pressure balanced. This pressure balancing is a combination of particular angles and surface areas and allows the pressure to exert force vectors that offset some of the force that can lift the lip from the rotating shaft. A combination of particular geometrical shapes permits the creation of a new class of vector forces upon the seal lip area.
The above-mentioned and other features and advantages of this invention, and the manner of attaining them, will become more apparent and the invention will be better understood by reference to the following description of an embodiment of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views. The exemplification set out herein illustrates one preferred embodiment of the invention, in one form, and such exemplification is not to be construed as limiting the scope of the invention in any manner.
The aperture is defined by a cylindrical wall 16 which surrounds shaft 12 in spaced relation. Pump housing 14 is shown in partial section in
Housing 14 defines internal chamber 18 which surrounds shaft 12 and is filled with a lubricant, such as oil. When the shaft is rotating together with the attached rotor (not shown), pressure is generated within chamber 18. Oil pump components, such as the rotor (not shown), are disposed inboard of housing 14 and operate to generate pressure of the oil which is then pumped through the lubrication system of the hydraulic system or other application requiring a hydraulic pump or motor for low speed, high pressure applications.
Lip seal assembly 10 is annularly disposed axially outboard of housing 14 and adjacent aperture cylindrical wall surface 16. Lip seal assembly 10 maintains a seal at the aperture and produces a sealing relation between the surface of shaft 12 and radial surface 15 of housing 14. Seal assembly 10 separates chamber 18 from the environment which is external to housing 14.
Lip seal assembly 10 is retained in place by a conventional end plate assembly as known in the art. The end plate assembly comprises generally an annular end plate 20 which is removable.
The details of lip seal assembly 10, in an installed condition, are illustrated in
Rigid retainer 32 is an annular, ring-like structure which includes an axially extending collar 34 at the outer diameter, a shortened radially extending flange 36 at the inner diameter to flange 36. A curved connecting portion 38 extends radially inwardly from collar 34 and connects collar 34 to flange 36. In cross-section, rigid retainer 32 appears in the shape of an “L”, or as a widened “V” as is shown in
Resilient seal body 30 is an integral elastomeric or polymeric element, as shown, and is formed by a molding or injection process. Typically, the forming of resilient seal body 30 and its bonding to rigid retainer 32 occur simultaneously during the molding process. Resilient seal body 30 includes an annular ring portion 42 which is bonded to the outer diameter surface of the annular, axially extending collar 34. Ring portion 42 includes a circumferential extension section 44 which is formed at a corner of resilient seal body 30 on an outer surface thereof and may be flared at each end to provide a better interference fit in the installed condition.
Installation of the seal as illustrated in
Referring again to
Extending radially inwardly from the central covering portion 48 is a sealing lip 50. Sealing lip 50 is integral with the central covering portion 48 and is molded onto the short radially extending flange 36 of rigid retainer 32. Sealing lip 50 comprises a main body and a contacting point 52 for sealing contact with the surface of shaft 12. In the uninstalled condition, sealing lip 50 extends at an angle in a radially inward direction relative to the center line CL and axially away from the body of the seal assembly 10 toward the direction where the pressurized hydraulic fluid would be disposed as shown in
Extending axially and radially from resilient seal body 30 is a projection portion 60 which extends axially of the end of collar 34 of rigid retainer 32 for a predetermined distance. Projection portion 60 acts to maintain the desired axial spacing of lip seal assembly 10 in relation to a radially extending wall 27 and radial surface 15 of annular end plate 20 and housing 14, respectively. Projection portion 60 may include a chamfer 62, as shown, to permit easier installation of lip seal assembly 10 within annular end plate 20.
Resilient seal body 30 is disposed between annular end plate 20, annular cylindrical wall 23, and radial surface 15 defining the space accepting lip seal assembly 10. The outer diameter of ring portion 42 seals against annular cylindrical wall 23 and sealing lip 50 seals against shaft 12. The spacing S between flange 36 and shaft 12 is critical for rigid retainer 32 to act as a single and sole backup ring for lip seal assembly 10. Flange 36 has a height of d as shown in
Resilient seal body 30 is molded onto and bonded to rigid retainer 32. Resilient seal body 30 and rigid retainer 32 together define a radially fixed mounting for sealing lip 50 which is able to angularly shift its position to accommodate shaft deflection while at all times maintaining a seal against the surface of shaft 12. In the installed position of seal assembly 10 (
An annular undercut or recess 54 is formed in the resilient seal body 30 which permits controlled flexing or bending of sealing lip 50 as the shaft runout causes radial movement or shaft deflection upon rotation. Walls 56, 58 forming the undercut are positioned, dimensioned and oriented to cause sealing lip 50 to pivot about an annular circumference which is approximately disposed about flange 36.
As indicated in
An apex angle A of 90°±10° is preferred. Apex angle B (formed at and associated with a second apex B′ of sealing lip 50) has a preferred angle of approximately 120°±10°. The shape of rigid retainer 32 and its disposition fairly close to shaft 12 provides a rigid base, so that sealing lip 50 will provide an effective seal without failure for long periods of time.
Other modifications may become apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art upon achieving an understanding of the inventive concept described herein. Accordingly, this invention is not limited by the illustrated embodiments shown and described herein, but is limited only by the following claims.
While this invention has been described as having a preferred design, the present invention can be further modified within the spirit and scope of this disclosure. This application is therefore intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention using its general principles. Further, this application is intended to cover such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which this invention pertains and which fall within the limits of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||277/549, 277/553, 277/589, 277/560|
|Cooperative Classification||F16J15/3216, F16J15/3252, F16J15/3204|
|European Classification||F16J15/32E2, F16J15/32B, F16J15/32B3|
|Sep 25, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TI SPECIALTY POLYMER PRODUCTS, INC., INDIANA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SMITH, TIMOTHY TROY;CASTLEMAN, LARRY J.;REEL/FRAME:013667/0219
Effective date: 20020823
|Feb 21, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: POLYMER SEALING SOLUTIONS, INC., INDIANA
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:TI SPECIALTY POLYMER PRODUCTS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:014289/0583
Effective date: 20010727
|Aug 3, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Aug 2, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8